An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Huss Lab

The Huss Lab is creating new knowledge about the metabolism of muscles. Muscle accounts for 40 percent of body mass and approximately 30 percent of resting metabolism in adults. Meanwhile, the power of regular physical activity to improve health, control blood sugar and potentially overcome type 2 diabetes is well-known.
The insights we gain into muscle metabolism could lead to treatments that mimic these benefits of long-term exercise.
 
We study the action of a special class of messenger proteins that interact with receptors in the cell nucleus. With better understanding of these biochemical pathways and how they regulate the activity of muscle tissue, we may learn how to activate them most effectively. Ultimately, this work could produce new therapies that halt — or even prevent — obesity, diabetes, cancer and the muscle loss that can come with advanced age or disease.
 
To reach the Huss Lab for more information, please call 626-256-4673.

Principal Investigator

Janice Huss, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology
Role: Principal Investigator
Research Focus: Connection between the ERR family of nuclear receptors and metabolism

Principal Investigator

Janice Huss, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology
Role:Principal Investigator
Research Focus: Connection between the ERR family of nuclear receptors and metabolism

Lab Members

Angelica Hamilton 
Research Associate
 
Jing Li, M.S.
Senior Research Associate

Lab Publications

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Conserved transcriptional activity and ligand responsiveness of avian PPARs: potential role in regulating lipid metabolism in migratory birds.
Hamilton A, Ly J, Robinson JR, Corder KR, DeMoranville KJ, Schaeffer PJ, Huss JM. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2018 Aug 13. pii: S0016-6480(18)30115-1. [Epub ahead of print]
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t-Darpp Activates IGF-1R Signaling to Regulate Glucose Metabolism in Trastuzumab-Resistant Breast Cancer Cells.
Lenz G, Hamilton A, Geng S, Hong T, Kalkum M, Momand J, Kane SE, Huss JM. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Mar 1;24(5):1216-1226. Epub 2017 Nov 27
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Identification of novel inverse agonists of estrogen-related receptors ERRγ and ERRβ.
Yu DD, Huss JM, Li H, Forman BM. Bioorg Med Chem. 2017 Mar 1;25(5):1585-1599. Epub 2017 Jan 16.
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Annual life-stage regulation of lipid metabolism and storage and association with PPARs in a migrant species: the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis).
Corder KR, DeMoranville KJ, Russell DE, Huss JM, Schaeffer PJ. J Exp Biol. 2016 Nov 1;219(Pt 21):3391-3398. Epub 2016 Sep 2.

Research Highlights

In the Huss Lab, we investigate mechanisms governing mitochondrial energy metabolism and growth of skeletal muscle in health and in disease.
 
The ability of skeletal muscle to prevent the development of obesity and insulin resistance depends upon its oxidative capacity and its overall mass. While cells’ ATP-generating capacity and selection of fats or glucose to generate energy are largely determined by their mitochondria, regulation of substrate uptake also plays a role. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will advance our knowledge of the causes of metabolic dysregulation in obesity, diabetes, heart failure and aging.
 
We delve into how the estrogen-related receptor (ERR) group of nuclear receptors regulate energy metabolism and muscle contraction. These factors are essential for directing the metabolic enhancements caused by endurance exercise. We currently are exploring whether targeting ERR genetically could prevent diet-induced obesity or reiterate the beneficial effects of exercise on whole-body glucose control.
 
Our approach combines elements from research in biochemistry, metabolism, molecular mechanisms, histochemistry and genetics. We use a variety of methods and tools to examine the results of deletion or activation of ERR at the cellular level, in laboratory models and in comparative studies.